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Off Topic: Thermoworks DOT Thanksgiving 2014 Giveaway!
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Cooking For Engineers



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 16776766

PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2014 6:21 am    Post subject: Off Topic: Thermoworks DOT Thanksgiving 2014 Giveaway! Reply with quote

This year flew past so fast that I didn't even realize that next week is Thanksgiving. I've been offered a new product from Thermoworks to giveaway, and we're going to have to rush this giveaway to have it in time to be received by a lucky winner in time for Thanksgiving. The product is their brand new DOT probe alarm thermometer. If you're familiar with the ChefAlarm which I reviewed and gave away earlier this year, then this new product is similar - except it does only one thing and it does it well: monitor the temperature of the probe and sounds an alarm when the temperature reaches the set point. No count down timers, no count up timers, no alarm start or stop... just set the target temperature and you're done. Sometimes simple is just what is needed.<?if($fullpost==1){?>
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The DOT is a comfortable 3-in diameter device that has a large easy to read display that shows the probe temperature on top and the target temperature below. The target temperature is set using the left/right buttons on the device (left decreases the temperature and right increases it). When the probe temperature reaches the target temperature, the DOT beeps. Seems straightforward enough. Even though this probe alarm seems simple, a lot of thought went into the design. There is an integrated kickstand so the DOT can be stood on the counter when in use (the rubberized bottom ensures it won't slip or slide). When not using the kickstand, you can lie it flat on the counter or use the strong magnets on the back and put it on the refrigerator or other ferromagnetic surface. The housing is not only very durable (designed to withstand the demands of a commercial kitchen), but the seams are splash-proof (the DOT is NEMA rated IP65 - dustproof and splashproof) so getting sauce on it isn't a problem. The DOT uses the same probes as the ChefAlarm and comes with a straight general purpose probe that can provide accurate readings within 7 seconds from -50C (-58F) to 300C (572F) and survive temperatures up to 370C (700F). I've used my DOT and ChefAlarm with the general purpose probe as well as the needle probe (which can be fully submerged in water and can provide a reading in 3-5 seconds) and the air temperature probe (useful for alerting when a grill or oven has been heated up adequately - oven thermometers and barbecue thermometers are notoriously inaccurate and sometimes a recipe needs accuracy to work reliably).

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, having an accurate and reliable probe thermometer with alarm would take some of the stress and anxiety out of preparing dinner. If you don't have a probe thermometer already, the DOT is a pretty good choice. It also makes a fine gift.

So, how are we going to handle this giveaway. As with the previous giveaways, I'm going to ask you to make a comment on this article. This time, I'd like you to comment on something simple that you appreciate that does a task and does it well. (That is, something you prefer to use over a more complicated device.) Several chefs and cooks (most notably, Alton Brown) have popularized the idea of not having "unitaskers" in their kitchen, but there's always an exception that proves the rule. What's yours? (I believe Alton Brown's exception is his fire extinguisher.)


Since we're so close to Thanksgiving, I'll have to run the contest really fast. You can comment from now until some time on Monday, November 24, 2014. I will use the email address registered to the account of the comment that was randomly selected and email them to get their contact info. If I can get the shipping info by Monday night, then, on Tuesday, Thermoworks will be able to next-day the DOT to the winner in time for Thanksgiving!

(By the way, the last raffle resulted in a nice list of topics for me to cover in the future. I haven't had a chance to write lately, but all is not lost. I've got all the information in a spreadsheet and have been gathering notes. I just need some way to earn a living AND find time to write new articles. I'll figure it out eventually, and, in the meantime, I'd like to thank everyone for their patience and helping tell others about Cooking For Engineers.)

Now, the detailed instructions:
<ol class="rules"><li>You need to be in the United States or Canada to qualify for this giveaway (Thermowork's shipping requirements).</li><li>Join Cooking For Engineers (through the forums) and post a comment telling me what simple tool you prefer to use over a more complicated one that does the same task. I need you to join so, if you win, I'll have an email address to contact you with to get your mailing info so Thermoworks can send you the DOT. I won't have contact information for guest/anonymous posts so I can't include your entry unless you are logged in. (If you are an existing member, be sure to double check your email address on file to make sure it's accurate.)</li><li>On November 24, 2014, I'll post a comment signifying the end of the contest. All entries (where I have contact info) above my comment will be eligible to win. (I don't know what time I'll be making the post, so it's best just to enter early.)</li><li>I'll number the participants and generate a random number which will determine the winner and post the winner as well as contact them via email. If there is no response within 24 hours of my email, then I'll pick another number and winner (and so on).</li></ol><?}?><?if($fullpost==1){?>Good luck everyone!<?}?>

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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1635
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2014 6:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The contest officially starts now. All comments below this one (and above the comment ending the contest) will be included as long as the comment is made by a logged in user with a valid email address. Good luck!
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Jim Cooley



Joined: 09 Oct 2008
Posts: 346
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2014 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Coincidentlally, Alton Brown turned me onto a pastry scraper many years ago, before I dropped television completely.

I use that thing for everything from pastry to scooping up stuff I dropped on the floor.

I prefer the plastic handle version because it's so easy to clean.
Here's a link to one at the WebRestaurantStore, an outfit I'm becoming increasingly fond of.
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rberndt



Joined: 20 Nov 2014
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2014 9:42 pm    Post subject: Simple, but very good Reply with quote

OK, it's not fancy, but I have struggled over the years with opening cans -- every opener has some failing -- I bought one labeled "Good Cook" brand -- the handles are comfortably angled -- the knob is very comfortable and each rotation covers quite a bit of the edge of the can and the blade cleanly cuts the lid (including that last little bit that always hangs on the other openers). The only downside is that it has a little green plastic tab that is used to keep it closed in the drawer -- that was hard to get to release -- but I just broke that off and having the opener slightly open in the drawer is no big deal.
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QSis



Joined: 20 Nov 2014
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2014 11:23 pm    Post subject: Steamed eggs Reply with quote

I've tried the divided egg poacher, I've tried the silicone pods, and I've poached eggs the old fashioned way in swirling boiling water.

But, for me, the best, easiest, fastest way to soft-cook eggs is to break them into a non-stick pan with about 1 T. water, and cover for just a few minutes.

I do add a little butter in the bottom of the pan for flavor, but if you are calorie-conscious, just spray with Pam.

I have a glass cover so I can see how done the eggs are - always perfect, really quick, and clean-up is a breeze!

Lee
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Greengem



Joined: 08 Dec 2013
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2014 11:48 pm    Post subject: my mortar and pestle Reply with quote

I think that even though I use the food processor for speed, my trusty and very old mortar and pestle is the best. Any spices that I want ground up is nicely mixed in there and clean up is a cinch. Whenever I use the food processor instead, my spices (esp. for curries) don't taste as lovely. Plus, the food processor is so much trouble to clean up.
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La Empollona



Joined: 21 Nov 2014
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 12:21 am    Post subject: My Microwave Reply with quote

While it is already somewhat of a multi-tool, I use my microwave well beyond the basics of defrosting a frozen dinner or reheating some left-overs. I use the microwave to:

Steam Veggies
Roast Garlic
Brew Tea
Decrystallizing Honey (to put in tea)
Wilt Spinach
Disinfect Sponges
Melt Chocolate
"Bake" Potatoes

Even when I'm making a dish the conventional way, my microwave almost always has a job to do. Plus, it's the same model I've had since college. Not even one of those fancy convection microwaves.
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JimPuls



Joined: 21 Nov 2014
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 6:52 pm    Post subject: Unitasker Reply with quote

Like to use fire extinguisher to roll out pie dough. It's a little heavier than a rolling pin and I don't have to think about pushing down.
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Dave99



Joined: 21 Nov 2014
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 9:37 pm    Post subject: simple kitchen tool Reply with quote

There is nothing in the kitchen toolbox more functional and basic than the chef's knife. Instead of buying a fancy chopping gadget or three, it is almost always much easier and more effective to chop with the chef's knife. No taking apart pieces, cleaning, re-assembling and storing required. Ant the knife can be used to slice and dice, scrape (back side, or course), julienne and even peel larger vegetables and fruits.
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Auspicious



Joined: 29 Dec 2005
Posts: 60
Location: on the boat, Annapolis, MD

PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2014 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Dave99 on the glories of a good knife.

I do use a mandoline quite often. Slicing, dicing, and hopefully not cutting myself.
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Cat53



Joined: 23 Nov 2014
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 3:47 pm    Post subject: Simple Kitchen Tool Reply with quote

One simple tool that I have learned to love is my microplane. I never realized how much extra flavor I could get by zesting lemons and limes. I had tried zesting them before using different graters and peelers, but everything was more of a hassle than it was worth. The microplane works really well and is easy to grab and just zest right into the dish.
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mhfiset



Joined: 21 Nov 2014
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Instead of whipping cream with a stand mixer or hand mixer, I prefer to do it with a whisk. It isn't very hard, and you have much better control over the final texture.
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brendal



Joined: 04 Dec 2013
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 3:21 am    Post subject: Rice cooker! Reply with quote

Yes, I realize the rice cooker can be used for various other purposes other than cooking rice, but that's what I use it for primarily so I'm going to count that as my favorite uni-tasker in the kitchen. Smile
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jodeleeuw



Joined: 04 Dec 2013
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 3:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love the simplicity of my thermapen. Open and take a temp, and its done!
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glenninma



Joined: 24 Nov 2014
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 3:39 am    Post subject: simple tool Reply with quote

I use my chef's knife most often preferring it to the food processor for most cutting applications.
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